Skills shortages plugged by new EU workers

One year on from the expansion of the EU to include 10 new countries, 7% of UK employers are taking on staff from the new accession states, according to research.

The report, based on NOP research of 2,100 UK companies, was commissioned by recruitment firm Manpower to mark the anniversary of the 10 states joining the EU on 1 May 2004. 

The survey shows that employers in the construction industry are the most likely to employ people from the new member states, with 10% taking on these workers. 

Hotels and retail were next in line, taking 8%, while the finance and business services sectors took 7%.

The research also shows that many are finding work in London – 15% of employers in the capital are employing new EU workers. 

Other popular destinations for EU jobseekers in the UK are Yorkshire & Humberside (14%) and the West Midlands (13%). 

Wales, the North East, North West and the East Midlands have recruited fewer new EU workers, with just 2% of companies in these areas taking them on.

The survey reveals that there is a strong correlation between business size and tendency to employ workers from the new EU states: 31% of large companies compared to just 14% of small businesses have taken on workers from the new member states.

Ruth Hounslow, head of public affairs at Manpower, said:  “The research appears to demonstrate that workers from the new member states are a valuable resource for British businesses, with expansion of the EU providing a good opportunity to address some of the UK’s skills shortages.”

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